Eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes the skin red, flaky, blistery, and itchy. In some individuals, eczema can induce respiratory problems like asthma and hay fever as well. Skin specialists have found CBD in marijuana quite effective for eczema treatment.
While the body’s inflammatory response is a useful and necessary reaction to the presence of pathogens and other foreign organisms, it can sometimes get out of control. An over-reactive immune system can cause inflammation in parts of the body even when it’s not needed. Eczema is, therefore, the result of excessive inflammation in the skin.
Eczema has no apparent cause, but scientists speculate that it occurs due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors. It can be triggered by chemical irritants (shampoos, detergents, soaps, etc.), foods, fresh fruit juices, and allergens (dust, pet hair, pollen, mold, dandruff, etc.). Stress is also a known trigger for eczema and other inflammatory illnesses.
There are different types of eczema, so the symptoms and conditions that trigger it varies per individual. Itchiness is a common symptom in all eczema patients, but some also experience dry, flaky skin that peels, cracks, and bleeds when scratched. Eczema is known to induce sleep complications as well (it’s hard to get enough rest when your whole body is itching). However, medical marijuana can help eczema in so many ways.
Eczema also has a significant social and psychological effect on people. The red, blotchy, or scaly appearance of the skin can be a source of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. During flare-ups, eczema may drive people into isolation for fear of ridicule or out of the sheer discomfort it may bring in a social setting.
There is no cure for eczema. That’s according to the National Eczema Association (NEA), which recommends the following treatments to manage the symptoms of eczema:
- Baths. Taking a warm bath or shower, then moisturizing immediately (or within three minutes), can alleviate the symptoms. Special baths containing oatmeal, vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and salt can be used to quell severe flare-ups.
- Moisturizing. Dry skin easily becomes irritated by wind, cold environments, and low humidity, which can lead to an eczema flare-up.
- OTC medicines. Many eczema creams that are sold over the counter can alleviate the itchiness, redness, and irritation caused by eczema, and can protect damaged skin from infections.
- Prescription drugs. Most of these are in the form of topicals like steroid creams and skin barrier creams.
- Immunosuppressants. Inflammation comes from an over-active immune system, so taking drugs that regulate the functioning of the immune system can reduce eczema flare-ups.
CBD and Eczema
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the 113 cannabinoids that have so far been isolated from the cannabis plant. These naturally occurring chemicals have promising medical benefits, possibly because they all interact with the endocannabinoid system, a homeostatic network of receptors tasked with maintaining the body’s natural balance.
Unlike THC, which is the only psychoactive compound among the 60 cannabinoids found in marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive, and therefore suitable for medical use.
Recent scientific and anecdotal evidence shows that CBD products can provide both short and long-term relief from the symptoms of eczema. It has a high safety profile because it is effective even in small doses, which eliminates the risk of intoxication from the trace amounts of THC (roughly 0.3%) present in most CBD oils and tinctures.
Here are three ways in which CBD oil can help with eczema.
1. By reducing the itchiness
A study confirmed that cannabinoids have powerful antipruritic effects. Scientists discovered that impairments in the cutaneous cannabis signaling mechanism resulted in severe skin disorders, including eczema, acne, psoriasis, and itchiness.
The endocannabinoid system has receptors all over the body, including in the cutaneous layer of the skin. When cannabinoids are introduced into the body, they react with the CB2 receptors found on the peripheral sensory nerves, which stops the transmission of itch signals to the brain.
2. By preventing skin infections
One of the earliest discoveries on cannabinoids was their antimicrobial characteristics, which researchers noticed in the 1980s. One particular study proved that five major cannabinoids, including CBD have significant antimicrobial properties, particularly when it came to a bacterial pathogen known as Staphylococcus aureus. Aureus is a human bacterial pathogen that, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), is the leading cause of soft tissue and skin infections.
3. By reducing inflammation
A study performed on mice demonstrated the efficacy of THC topicals in suppressing allergic reactions, which was achieved through their interaction with CB1 receptors. There have also been instances where eczema patients noticed an improvement in their symptoms after applying a topical cannabinoid.
This study demonstrated that the interaction of a cannabis molecule with an ECS receptor inhibited the activation of the immune cells responsible for allergic reactions: mast cells.
Mast cells produce histamine when activated. Histamine is the chemical that causes inflammatory responses when released into the bloodstream. The job of mast cells is to mediate inflammatory responses, but when they malfunction, they can cause inflammatory illnesses like eczema.
CBD and Eczema Drug Interactions
Despite its high safety profile, CBD’s interaction with eczema medication can lead to adverse effects.
When you take medication, it cannot be metabolized by your body until it is broken down first. Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) is the group of enzymes responsible for breaking down foreign compounds like medicines into forms that the body can assimilate.
CBD can delay the action of CYP450, which slows down drug metabolism. If the body is taking too long to metabolize the drug, then there may be higher levels of the medicine present in the body at a time, which can amplify the effects and side-effects of the drug.
CBD can be found easily from dispensaries. It should not be mixed with any medication that has a grapefruit warning (i.e., should not be consumed along with grapefruit or grapefruit juice). These include antihistamines, pain medication, antibiotics, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants.
To enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana, visit MmjDoctor, and apply for your medical marijuana card!